A good headset can make a big difference when playing games. Whether you like to get immersed in the game with the music or sound effects or if you need to hear every enemy footstep to know where they are, choosing the right pair of headphones for you can be quite a task. You should look at overall build quality, how comfortable they are, how they sound, and if the microphone sounds good. If you don’t need a microphone, most wired audiophile headphones would be a good option.
We've tested over 680 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best headsets to buy for gaming. Also, see our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, the best PS5 headsets, and the best Xbox Series X/S headsets.
The best gaming headset we've tested is the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox. These feature-packed headphones come in either a PlayStation/PC or Xbox/PC variant. However, the Xbox variant offers a lot more versatility as they're compatible with both consoles, making them a solid choice if you like to game across platforms. These premium and comfortable over-ears come with a wireless USB transmitter, which puts controls like channel mixing, EQs, and sidetone at your fingertips. Their transmitter also ensures very low latency, which is great for keeping your audio and visuals in sync while gaming. Since these headphones use a dual battery cartridge system, you can store one battery in the transmitter while using the other, delivering roughly 25 hours of continuous playback time each.
Out of the box, they have a somewhat neutral profile with a touch of extra thump and boom to help emphasize sound effects like footsteps in your gameplay. You can finetune their sound using the transmitter or their companion software's graphic EQ and presets. If you like to game with others, their detractable boom mic offers very good performance, ensuring that your voice sounds clear and natural, even in moderately noisy environments. Unlike many other gaming headphones on the market, they have active noise canceling (ANC), which can help tackle sounds like the whirl of your computer's fan or ambient chatter. They even support Bluetooth, meaning you can stay connected to your console and smartphone simultaneously.
The Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 is the best gaming headset in the upper mid-range we've tested. Like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, these fan-favorite headphones come in either a PS4/PC or Xbox/PC variant, each of which includes a wireless base station. While it doesn't have customization features like a built-in EQ found in our top pick, the base station still ensures low latency, and you can even use it to recharge the headphones when not in use. Thanks to their over 17 hours of continuous playback time, you should have plenty of juice to last through long gaming sessions, and they're even equipped with an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life if you forget to turn them off.
These headphones have a comfortable fit suitable for long gaming marathons, and they're well-built. They have a well-balanced sound out of the box with enough boom and warmth to bring out sound effects without drowning out dialogue or instruments. Their companion software offers a graphic EQ, and you can use it to create presets that you can access via the EQ button on the right ear cup. Their mic has an excellent recording quality, and it can separate your voice from background noise well. These headphones aren't designed to block background noise, so you'll hear everything going on around you if you're gaming in a loud environment.
The best gaming headphones in the mid-range we've tested are the ΗyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless. These are the first headphones on the list that only come in one general variant and can't connect to Xbox consoles. However, if you're a PlayStation or PC gamer, you can use their wireless USB dongle to your advantage as it ensures very low latency. While they lack a base station or wireless transmitter base, what makes them stand out from the pack is their outstanding continuous battery life: they last for more than 300 hours off of a single charge, so they're worth considering if you find yourself running out of power at inconvenient times. You don't have the option of using them wired, but their auto-off timer can also help conserve battery life when you're not using them.
They have a well-balanced, slightly v-shaped sound profile that adds extra thump and punch to your audio, while instruments and lead vocals are clear and detailed. They're prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery, and you may notice a significant drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses, as this can rupture the headphones' seal on your head. On the upside, their companion app includes a graphic EQ and presets to help tackle this issue. Their mic makes your voice sound clear when you're gaming with friends, even if you're in a noisy environment, although they don't isolate you from much ambient sound.
The best lower mid-range gaming headphones we've tested are the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless. These headphones are designed for the Xbox as their wireless dongle offers fairly low latency. You can even pair them with your smartphone, so you can receive audio from it and your console simultaneously. Although their continuous battery life of 28 hours is significantly shorter than our mid-range pick, it should still be more than enough to get you through long dungeon crawls without an issue. They also have a fairly neutral sound profile, so dialogue and lead instruments sound clear and natural. They lack low-bass, and they're very prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery. Luckily, if you're on a PC, you can tweak their sound to suit your needs using their companion software's graphic EQ and presets.
These headphones have a great overall mic performance. That said, while they have an AUX port, they don't come with an audio cable to connect them to your console. Unfortunately, even if you're using this cable, you'll only receive audio via this connection. If you're a PC and PS5 gamer, you should check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7P+ Wireless instead. Their design is meant to match the PlayStation, and their wireless dongle is supported on the previously mentioned platforms. They also have a similarly comfortable and well-built design with the same level of customization features available in their companion software. However, their boom mic's performance isn't as good, and they don't support Bluetooth.
The best gaming headphones at the budget level we've tested are the Logitech G535 LIGHTSPEED Wireless. Since they're found at a more affordable price point, they lack premium features you'll see in our lower mid-range pick, like Bluetooth support or an AUX port so you can use them wired. They also come with a wireless USB dongle, which keeps lip sync issues to a minimum, but it also means that you can't use these headphones with your Xbox console. If that's not a deal breaker for you, these wallet-friendly cans have over 35 hours of continuous playback time and have a comfortable fit suitable for long gaming marathons.
They have a fairly well-balanced default sound profile with a touch of extra punch and warmth to help liven up action-packed gameplay. Although they're prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery due to fit, positioning, and seal, their companion software offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you customize their sound to suit your preferences. For closed-back headphones, they can also create a decent passive soundstage that feels open, wide, and natural. Their mic performance is also fair, and while it doesn't stack up to any of the previous picks, it can still capture your voice clearly, even if you sound thin.
The best cheap gaming headset we've tested is the Logitech G433 Gaming Ηeadset. Unlike our budget pick, which is wireless, wired headphones usually occupy most of the cheap price points. However, if you're on a tight budget, these wired headphones offer a solid performance that can rival more expensive wireless models. Going with a reputable brand like Logitech can also be a safe bet if you care about quality and durability, as cheaper models on the market can have glaring flaws like driver mismatch and faulty frames. These headphones have an excellent mic performance, so if you're gaming with friends, your voice sounds clear even if you're in a moderately noisy place. Their lightweight, comfortable fit is suitable for long gaming sessions as well. Even though their sound profile is a bit light on low-bass, they have a bump of extra boom to help bring out sound effects. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization.
They come with a wired USB dongle that provides a low-latency connection, so your game audio and visuals should stay in sync while you're gaming. Unfortunately, the dongle doesn't work with Xbox, which limits the headphones' versatility a bit. You can plug them into a controller for full mic and audio support, but you can't use the customization features in the companion app when connected this way. Otherwise, if you're looking for the best PC gaming headset, these offer a strong mic performance and low latency for gaming.
If you're looking for a gaming headset that you can use during your commute or at work, consider the Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless. These comfortable, well-built headphones have an integrated mic instead of a boom mic, making them look a lot less gamer-centric than other picks on this list. It doesn't perform quite as well as the boom mics but gives the headset a more casual appearance and makes your voice sound clear. You can use them with your phone via Βluetooth when you're out and about, and they also come with a wireless USB dongle that works with PCs and PlayStation consoles and provides a low latency connection.
Unlike most gaming headsets, they have an adjustable active noise canceling (ANC) feature. Set to the highest setting, it does a great job blocking ambient sound, like background conversations. It also does a good job of reducing bass-range noise like rumbling engines, although many dedicated casual-use headphones are better for that purpose. These headphones also have a well-balanced sound profile suitable for a variety of genres.
The Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019 is the best wired gaming headset we've tested. If you're looking for gaming headphones that bypass the issue of latency altogether, an audio cable is the way to go. Unlike most budget options, which are wired by default, these premium cans come with a MixAmp that puts controls like channel mixing, EQ presets, and volume within quick reach. It also offers several different inputs like optical and USB. Keep in mind that there are separate PS4 and Xbox One variants of these headphones, so you need to be sure to get the right version for your console. They're a solid choice if you only use one console or if you're looking for the best PC gaming headset, though.
Compared to the similarly priced HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, they have an open-back design, which helps them create an immersive and out-of-head soundstage. Due to this design, they leak a lot of audio and block out practically no audio. However, they're comfortable enough for long gaming marathons, and their ear cups even have swappable speaker tags, so you can purchase different styles from the manufacturer to give the headphones a different look. They also have a warm default sound profile to help bring out sound effects in your gameplay. Their detachable boom mic does a great job recording your voice and can separate it from background noise, so you're heard clearly.
Aug 22, 2022: We've overhauled this article to better match user expectations. Added the following headphones to provide a wider range of the market: the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, AstroA50 Gen 4 2019, SteelSeries Arctis 9X, and Logitech G535 LIGHTSPEED . We've also removed the Razer Kaira Pro Wireless for Xbox, the SteelSeries Arctis 1, and the SteelSeries Arctis 7X.
Jul 11, 2022: Replaced the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 with the ΗyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless as the 'Best Gaming Headset' and the Logitech G432 with the Logitech G433 as the 'Best Budget Gaming Headset'. Added the SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless as the 'Best Multi-Console Gaming Headset' and the Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless as the 'Most Versatile Gaming Headset'.
May 20, 2022: Added the ΗyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless as the 'Best Wireless Gaming Headset For Battery Life'. Moved the Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset to Notable Mentions.
Apr 22, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.
Mar 22, 2022: Replaced the Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset with the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless because the Logitech's price has increased.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our headphones reviews, sorted by their wireless gaming performance. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you don't care about having a microphone or wireless features.